Tory government fails to protect seafarers as new French legislation comes into force

Tory government fails to protect seafarers as new French legislation comes into force

28 June 2024

RMT Press Office:

Maritime union, RMT has criticised the Tory government for its failure to introduce mandatory protections for seafarers, in stark contrast to decisive action taken by the French government.

Effective this Sunday, new French laws will mandate ferry operators like P&O to pay their seafarers the French national minimum wage and enforce limits on seafarers’ time onboard ships.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch highlighted the disparity between the French and UK governments, saying: "The French government's decision to enforce these protections stands in stark contrast to the UK government, which has failed to introduce mandatory protections for our seafarers."
RMT has long campaigned for robust protections for UK seafarers, including a two-week on, two-week off roster pattern for Ratings. 
This is necessary to counteract the exploitative business model imposed by companies like P&O and Irish Ferries, which requires some seafarers to work 17-week at sea, undermining decent employers and safety in the maritime sector.
Despite these calls, the UK government has only issued a voluntary charter and failed to support cross-party amendments to the Seafarers Wages Act that would ensure safe roster patterns and other essential protections.
Mr Lynch added: "We have no trust in P&O or any business run by DP World to do the right thing.
"The only way to ensure decent pay and conditions is through mandatory legislation and tough sanctions for non-compliance with obligations to seafarers and passengers from these multimillion pound companies.
"The new French legislation not only increases pay but will reduce seafarer fatigue and extend pension rights for agency seafarers on P&O’s and Irish Ferries’ Dover-Calais routes.
"The Tories have failed to stand up for seafarers, unlike the French, who have taken legal steps to improve pay, reduce fatigue, and extend pension rights. We urgently need a mandatory charter for seafarers and the closure of legal loopholes more than ever."

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Tagged with: RMT, Mick Lynch, Seafarers, P&O Ferries